Training conferences by Dave Chappelle

I’m at a training conference. I like training conferences, they remind me of college. Except that I usually skipped lectures in college, and never ever attended a lecture before 10 AM, on principle. But it’s a nice change, sort of relaxing…a little too relaxing…all right, when they turned on the powerpoint and turned off the lights, I fell asleep.

Which is how I’ve come up with my latest idea: I think that training conferences should be planned and drafted by experts in the field, but they should be performed by professional comedians. Those guys know how to keep your attention for a long time without resorting to slides, overheads, or handouts. Plus, if you don’t like how things are going, you can heckle them. I would definitely pay attention if I got the chance to heckle the presenter. All I get to do now is write snarky comments on my notepad and slide it across to my table mate. It’s not fun if you don’t get to throw things.

Personally, I would like to see my training conferences performed in the style of Chappelle’s Show. I want lots of profanity, a healthy dose of cultural insensitivity, and little bits of stand-up in between the panels. There could be lecture skits about “When Keeping It Real Goes Corporate”, and we could hear about the financial impact of paper vs. digital from Rick James. I know you know what I’m talking about! If conferences were like Chappelle’s Show, I’d never miss a panel.

My Sainted Mother: The Vacation Chronicles

Mad scientist caricature 2

Image via Wikipedia

My mother controls the weather.  Not in a mad-scientist-underground-laboratory-with-hunchbacked-assistant kind of way, and not even in a Gaia-Demeter-Mother-Earth kind of way.  No, my Sainted Mother is simply a magnet for natural disasters.  If she boards a flight, a thunderstorm will form unexpectedly around the plane.  If she visits a foreign country, a tsunami will overwhelm the hotel she was staying at about a week after she leaves.  After she retired and started spending more time at home, she caused an earthquake, a tornado, and a hurricane all within a one week period.  I’m not kidding or exaggerating about any of this.

She’s currently in Hawaii.  The last time she went there, she caused torrential rain and mudslides, and I think that was the time that the plane behind hers got struck by lightning and had to make an emergency landing.  So it was no surprise to me to get a call from her informing me that she wasn’t sure she was going to be able to make the next leg of her journey because weather conditions had gotten so bad out there that the governor had declared her island a disaster area!  Her power is only getting more potent with time.

Monster cyclone 2A with large eye making landf...

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My Sainted Mother likes to send her daughters the itinerary of her trips before she goes so that we’ll be able to get in touch with her at every stage of the journey.  I’ve explained the concept of cell phones to her, but what can you do.  I’ve come to value these itineraries, though, as a sort of warning for what places to avoid and when.  I’m thinking of posting them on this blog as a public service, so that the areas she’s traveling to can take proper precautions and lay in supplies.  Sainted Mother, I beg of you, use your powers for good!  Until then, if you see black helicopters circling overhead as you take your next cruise, you have only yourself to blame.  Also, for anyone traveling with my mother, remember to pack your umbrella.  And your first aid kit.  And an inflatable life vest.  Just in case.

A Ray of Light

An unopened fortune cookie

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I had a Very Bad Day yesterday–what’s that children’s story, somebody’s Terrible, Horrible, Evil, Awful, No-Good, Very Bad Day?  Well, that’s the kind of day I had yesterday.  I was too tired and upset to cook dinner, so I went to a nearby fast food restaurant.  The guy behind the counter asked if I’d had a good day, and I gave a gusty sigh and said “No!”  I must have looked like I meant it, too, because when he gave me my order he also gave me a paper fortune from a fortune cookie that said “Your charming smile is attracting everyone around you” in an attempt to cheer me up!  And it worked.  It was the only thing that got a real smile out of me that night.  So thank you, Nameless Dude, I needed that.  And right back at you.

Don’t let the Little Blind Girl out at night!

English: Night Street Lights by

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Why little blind girls shouldn’t be allowed out after dark:

I got home from work pretty late tonight, well after dark.  Now, as I’m legally blind, I have a lot of trouble seeing much of anything after dark.  It’s all blurry artificial lights and shifting shadows and I’m basically completely blind.  Usually I don’t go out after dark, but I know my way to the corner store pretty well because of various after-hours emergencies over the years.  Of course, not having a strawberry soda after a hard Tuesday counts as an emergency, and just such a crisis struck tonight, so I ventured out.

The way to the corner store includes a pass through the parking lot for another business, where they know me well and know of my condition, and generally try to look out for me.  So I was not too surprised, if a little taken aback, when, as I walked through the parking lot, I heard a female voice say very loudly “Don’t go there!”  It being pitch dark, I couldn’t see even an outline of who was talking to me, but I thought perhaps a car was coming and a staff member or patron of the business was warning me, so I backtracked to what I thought was safe ground.

I heard the same female voice say, “Get away from there!” in a very authoritative tone.  Now thoroughly bewildered, I edged toward the door for the business.  Again, the female voice shouted “I told you not to go there!”

Exasperated, I said, “What is going on?  Why can’t I go there?  Why are you shouting at me?”

Out of the dark, the female voice replied, “What are you talking about?  I haven’t said anything to you!”

Seeing Eye Dog Original

Seeing Eye Dog Original (Photo credit: Mike "Dakinewavamon" Kline)

“You shouted at me not to go there!” I shot back, somewhat out of temper at this point.

“Are you blind or something?” the disembodied female voice asked.  “I was talking to my dog!”

That’s right, gentle readers, the lady was out walking her dog and was telling her dog not to do its business by the store’s front door.  I gave lady and dog what I hope was a wide berth, considering that I’m not sure where the dog ended up relieving itself, got my soda, and hustled home.  Seriously, I shouldn’t be allowed out of the house!

Famous Paintings Discuss Current Events: Super Tuesday

As regular readers of the blog will know, several famous paintings have been known to come on the blog and provide commentary on current events.  The paintings have been muttering restively about the Republican primaries, so I thought I’d let them out of the box leading into Super Tuesday.

A quick rundown of the facts, since  talking artwork isn’t usually big on spouting statistics:  while not quite so super a Tuesday as it used to be, there are still 419 delegates at stake tomorrow, with 1144 needed to clinch the nomination.  Mitt Romney currently has a healthy lead over Rick Santorum, and everyone else trails woefully far behind–but a sweep on Super Tuesday could put anyone back in the mix, so it’s still fun and games, even if I doubt anyone will lose an eye.

Now, without further ado, Famous Paintings discuss Super Tuesday:

Mona Lisa:  They just don’t make Super Tuesdays like they used to.  Come to think of it, they don’t really make presidential candidates like they used to.  Ah, that William Jennings Bryan, there was a man who could give a speech!



The Scream:  I know, and now they expect us to get excited about Mitt Romney?  “Ooh, Mitt Romney can fix our economy!  Ooh, Mitt Romney’s a businessman, he’ll clean things up!  Yeah, he’ll clean up all right.  How much is he worth now?



Whistler’s Mother:  I like that Newt Gingrich fellow.  He’s a firebrand.  He’ll shake things up.  And what a nice young man, so protective of his mother.



The Scream:  You know he’s on his third wife and proposed an open marriage with his second wife, right?




Whistler’s Mother:  Well, dear, I’ve had an arrangement with Van Gogh’s self-portrait for several decades now.  People have urges.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of.



The Scream:  Oh, God.  Oh, God.  That bastard.  I can’t take the mental image.  I feel like I need to yell, or shriek, or just…somehow…make noise….




Girl With A Pearl Earring:  I like Rick Santorum.  I know he’s not the sexiest candidate, but he just seems so dependable and sensible.  And he’s right, not everyone needs to go to college to have a rewarding and fulfilling life.



Old Guitarist:  You realize he’s a lawyer with an MBA, right?  He actually has more advanced degrees than Barack Obama has!  And he may be from a steel town, but I doubt he got any closer to blue-collar work than walking past construction sites on his way to work as a lobbyist.



Mona Lisa:  Does anyone else miss Ronald Reagan?  I mean, I know he drove us into an unprecedented deficit situation, but when you saw him onscreen, you really believed he was the President.  The man had presence.



American Gothic:  We’re just going to wait until we’re told who the candidate is for the Anyone But Obama party and vote for that one.  Super Tuesday, as far as we’re concerned, is just known as That Annoying Day With No Good Television.  Talk to us again in November.



Boy, that Old Guitarist is quite the liberal, isn’t he?  And who knew that Mona Lisa was a Reagan supporter?  And that Van Gogh’s Self Portrait, always causing problems.  As always, the views expressed are those of the portraits themselves, and not of the blog in general.  Happy voting!

Do first dates count as near-death experiences?

Lara Croft

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Ok, since a decision has been made on my behalf that I should start dating again, which I really think I should have had a say in, but whatever, I want to lay down some ground rules.  Dating should be fun, it should be an adventure, it should not be a nerve-wracking, ego-wrecking form of torture akin to waterboarding.  Unless you’re into that.  Which I’m not.  So I’m setting up some ground rules to try to keep the process enjoyable:

1.  Getting Ready

For me, the date starts long before either you pick me up or we meet at whatever location.  I want to Get Ready.  Guys, I realize you don’t understand the process of Getting Ready, but it’s usually the best part of the date, so just let me have this one.  I like to spend a couple of hours in the bathroom cleansing, exfoliating, maybe putting on a nice calming mask, and then piling on about a pound of makeup and hair product so that I can look exactly like I usually do, but better.  I like to fake the I Eat Right And Take Care Of Myself look, because it’s never going to happen naturally.  I put on music, light candles, consult makeup books, ponder outfits…I’m a girl.  Let me do this and we’ll start out already having a great date.

2.  Too Much Information

I guess it’s good to have some warning, but I don’t really need to know about all your health issues on the first date.  Or the second.  I mean, if you’re dying of cancer, go ahead and tell me that.  That one’s important.  But if you’ve had a life-long battle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, while that is certainly not any fun at all, I don’t necessarily need to hear about it at the restaurant, by candlelight, as we’ve just finished introducing ourselves.  That’s really more of a We’re In A Relationship Now kind of conversation, not a I Haven’t Yet Gotten Into Her Pants kind of conversation.  Think to yourself:  “If I were her and I had just told me this, would I be more or less likely to sleep with me?”  If the answer is more likely, go for it.  If it’s less, hold off until you cross the finish line.  Words to live by.

3.  Facebook Isn’t For First Dates

Please, please don’t friend request me right before or after our first date.  I want to be able to post about how I’m getting ready (see #1 above) or about how the date went and about how I rate you as a potential boyfriend.  I don’t want you to see that yet.  That’s the girl equivalent of peeing with the bathroom door open–which is another thing I don’t understand, but I’ll save that for a different post.  Also, things might not work out.  If you’re a jerk to me, I want to be able to post on Facebook about how awful you are and how glad I am we’re not together.  If you’re not a jerk to me and it still doesn’t work out, I don’t want to stare at your picture when it randomly pops up on my screen and start sobbing because you’ve ripped my little blind heart to pieces.  Then there’s the awkward phase where I know things aren’t working out but you don’t yet, or vice versa, and that just makes for a crap ton of awkward.  Just wait until we both know we’re on to something.

Ah, dating.  When else can a girl dress like a hooker and demand to be treated like a lady?  This should be fun!  It should be an action movie, a thriller, with chase sequences and fight scenes and maybe some explosions.  I’ve noticed there aren’t many of these things in most of the romantic comedies I’ve watched, but then, I’ve always taken a slightly different approach to romance.  Put your affairs in order, slip on a bullet-proof vest, and let’s go on a date!